Why Sponsors Sponsor
The best answer to the "Why do sponsors sponsor?" question can be found in the quote of the great P.T. Barnum, one of the world's best promoters -- who put it best when he said:
"A funny thing happens when you don't advertise ... NOTHING!"
You can have the absolutely BEST flowers in town at your flower shop ... but if no one knows you have a store, than no one can buy from you. Right? Which means that as a business owner, you have to figure out the best way to get your name out there in front of your target market. And KEEP it out there. (Your very livelihood depends on it!)
So ... what is the best, most cost effective way to get your name out there?
To best answer this question, let's switch roles for just a second - let's make YOU the advertiser. Let's put you into the role of being the business owner whose very survival depends on being able to cost-effectively get your name out there in front of your target market. How are you going to do that?
Well, let's see -- you could always use:
Television: That one was easy. With TV you can most certainly reach a HUGE audience. But at what price? You see... TV's terribly expensive. (One 30-second spot can set you back literally thousands of dollars.) And to do an even halfway effective job, you've got to buy lot and lots of spots to create any sort of frequency. (Like we said - it's not enough to GET your name out there ... you've got to KEEP it out there for folks to remember you at all. And that takes repetition. And that spells m-o-n-e-y!)
But let's say money is "no object" to you. That's great. But you still have to figure out which shows you should buy to reach your market. And with well over 120 channels to choose from - good luck! You're taking a really expensive gamble here!
So how about Radio?
Well, the good news is, cost-wise, we're getting closer here. But radio is still a really busy, crowded medium. And again, you will have to buy a large schedule, (...and hope that listeners don't tune away when commercials start to run).
You're looking at a dying breed here my friends. Most folks either don't have the time ... or they don't make the time to read their local newspaper these days. And of those that do - well, you're spending an awful lot of money hoping they'll "discover" your quarter page ad in the Life section, page 16. Taking a bit of a pricey risk here.
Billboards, Social Media, Internet Advertising?
Numerous plus's and minus's with all these options. On the "plus" side, you're definitely getting access to a growing number of "eye balls". But so is everyone else out there! Let's face it you're definitely not alone using "mass media".
With "traditional" media ... even new media - you're going to be running into a lot of your competition out in the market. And all of them have the exact same objective you do -- get their name, their message out and get customers in.
The result is that we (as consumers) are getting absolutely bombarded with advertising messages all day long. Everyday. In massive numbers. (Experts estimate we're getting exposed to over 5,000 commercial messages a day.) Pheww -- we couldn't possibly process all of it if we wanted to (...and believe me, we don't!). So to better deal with it, we (again, as consumers) have developed an internal filter to tune out the majority of it!
So let's switch back again - you're the advertiser. Faced with these "traditional" advertising prospects you've got to ask: "Okay - so what ARE we going to do to get our name out there in front of our target market?"
Well ... have you thought about sponsorship?
Sponsorship isn’t flawless. It too has its up's and down's.
For one, you won't be reaching as many target customers as you would with mass media advertising. But, on the other hand, sponsorship isn't nearly as "in your face" as traditional advertising is. Sponsorship is subtle. It doesn't scream "ADVERTISING"! Instead, it flies below the radar screen. (And although you may not think so, subtle can be a great thing!)
Why? Because your audience (...their "target market"), for the most part, won't filter out the sponsor's message because it'll hit them while they're actively engaged in a desired activity. If done right - the sponsor comes across as a valuable "ally" to their interest ... not the insufferable commercially yapping interloper that's keeping them from their desired programming.
If done right - you're sponsor is going to come across as a "hero" to your members, your audience and to your readers. You're going to help these companies (your sponsors) to side-step their competition and to cut through "all the noise" going on out there.
Help them to get their message out successfully to their target market ... and you can count on them being with you for years to come. It's that simple.
Ron Seaver, president of Seaver Marketing Group and The National Sports Forum, and author of "Brought to you By... - The Ultimate Sponsorship Sales System" has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of marketing and sponsorship.